I HEART NO POO (aka. NO SHAMPOO)
The what? Yes, I’m in the no-poo-ing phase right now. It sounds almost cute. Definitely almost wrong. But it’s not. No-poo is basically “no shampoo” — and it’s basically washing hair without using commercial shampoo products.
I have coarse, dry long hair and an oily scalp, so I have to wash my hair every day or else my hair smells a bit funky and gets all greasy and lank. Not my favorite look, thankyouverymuch. I also have highlights, which makes my hair drier than usual. And, mercilessly, I’m getting older and have noticed white hairs hiding under my layers of dark. Aiya.
Unfortunately, because I wash my hair every day it has become drier, frizzier, and I fear the shampoo is stripping away the natural oils that nourish my scalp.
Oh yes, I also tend to work out every day so after the gym my hairline is ringed with sweat. This requires daily washing of my hair as well.
MY GO-TO SHAMPOO, PRE-NO POO PHASE
I prefer to use shampoo/conditioner brands that don’t contain sulfates, parabens, artificial colour dyes, nor as been tested on animals. Sometimes the major ingredients are organic, sometimes they are not. I’ve tried almost every brand (so many!) within these parameters, with my favorites being Giovanni Four Elements and Amazon Series Muru Muru Anti-Frizz. The latter I like, but halfheartedly as it contains fragrance (phthalates).
Now before I go any further about no-poo, let’s go over why I prefer particular shampoos in the first place.
SULFATES: Sulfates, particularly Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates (SLS), are synthetic chemicals added to shampoo as a foaming and cleansing agent. When SLS is combined with Tri/Die/monno-ethanolamine (emulsifiers and foaming agents), then it can become toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time and associated as a carcinogenic substance in lab animals. When linked to byproduct 1-4 dioxane, SLS also becomes more toxic.
Health risk: drying hair, eye irritation, allergic reactions, hair loss.
PARABENS: Most commercial shampoos contain parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, or propylparaben). Parabens are synthetic preservatives used to inhibit microbial growth and extend shelf life.
Health risks: Allergic reactions, skin rashes. Studies have shown they are endocrine distrupters that mimic estrogen and distrupt normal hormone function. Preliminary research found parabens in breast cancer tumours.
PHTHALATES (Fragrance, DEHP, DHP, DBP 5, Dibutyl Phthalate): Phthalates are plasticizers that hold the fragrance and colour in shampoos. Usually hidden in the word “fragrance” on the ingredient label.
Health Risks: Headaches, dizziness, rashes, respiratory issues, hyperpigmentation on skin, sperm damage, infertility, depression, disruption of thryoid.
DYES BLUE 1, GREEN 3, YELLOW 5 & 6, RED 33: These dyes are derived from coal tar (the f***!) and found in shampoos.
Health Risks: Carcinogenic
DIAZOLIDINYL & IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA: These chemicals are also synthetic preservatives (like parabens) and are suspected formaldehyde releasers which can be toxic.
Health risks: The American Academy of Dermatology has found these chemicals to be a primary cause of contact dermatitis.
STEARALKONIUM CHLORIDE: This toxic chemical often replaces proteins as a cheaper way to soften hair in conditioners. It was designed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener!!
* MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT’S IN YOUR SHAMPOO *
Check out The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for more information about your bathroom products, including shampoos/conditioners. As well as a list of products that are the lesser evil.
Finally! We get to the No-Poo. Once again, no poo is shampooing without, well, shampoo which can dry hair and strip the scalp of lovely, nourishing oils.
Apparently shampooing every day strips the natural oils, which triggers the scalp to make more oil, which creates the greasiness in some spots and dryness in other spots.
I cannot get away without washing my hair every day because (A) I have an oil scalp which creates greasy hair and if not washed becomes funky smelling, (B) When I workout, the sweat hangs around my hairline.
But washing every day means my hair becomes (A) dry, (B) frizzy, (C) and my scalp gets a bit itchy from the drying out due to having my natural oils stripped.
FIRST I TRIED: DRY SHAMPOO
So, I first tried to use dry-shampoo on the days when I didn’t wash my hair. Major fail. My hair is too long and my scalp seems to be an industrious sebum-oil machine, so my hair soon reverted to its lank, greasy state by the afternoon.
SECOND I TRIED: CONDITIONER ONLY
Then I tried alternating using my shampoo with days using only conditioner every other day. It was okay, but conditioner isn’t really a great cleanser.
Yet this is what I was doing until my beloved hair stylist Danielle turned me onto Deva Curl No Poo.
THIRD I TRIED: DEVA CURL NO POO
Now I don’t have natural curls (I do have slight waves) yet I do like Deva Curl No Poo. It doesn’t lather but stimulates, hydrates, and cleans the scalp without stripping the natural oils. It also contains grapeseed oil to nourish as well. It works really well!
But while it’s sulfate-free and paraben-free….this no-poo sadly does contain Diazolidinyl Urea (paraben-like preservative) and Fragrance (Parfum). Sigh.
FINALLY I USE: BAKING SODA CLEANSER & APPLE CIDER VINEGAR RINSE
I then tried the natural shampoo/conditioner method, where every other day (alternating with shampooing), I wash my hair with baking soda (mixed with water) and conditioned my hair with apple cider vinegar (mixed with water). Obviously this method doesn’t foam and doesn’t become all sudsy like conventional hair cleansers, but you get used to it.
WHY? Baking soda is the weakest alkaline and gently cleanses build-up in hair without stripping the natural oils in the scalp. Apple cider is a weak acidic that detangles hair follicles, seals cuticles, and balances the pH of the hair (as well as balancing the baking soda’s alkaline levels).
WHAT HAPPENED? Initially this method made my hair straw-like and gritty feeling and I was not impressed. At. All. Then slowly my hair got used to it all and it’s all bouncy and shiny! Yee haw! Bonus: Baking soda + Apple Cider Vinegar is eco-friendly.
TIPS: It’s important that if you do use this method that you follow the baking soda/water cleanser with the apple cider vinegar cleanser to balance the alkaline baking soda with the acidic vinegar, else your hair will dry out.
MORE INFO & RECIPES: For more information about this method and recipes for the baking soda and the apple cider vinegar, click HERE at Simple Mom.
So if you’re also in the whole No Poo phase, yay!